Re-enacting the Past
Essays on the Evolution of Modern English Historiography
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How and why did modern historiography take on its present form? Re-enacting the Past addresses the problem in England by looking at some of the ways that the Renaissance and the Reformation affected writing and thinking about history, and left a legacy to modern historiography. Professor Levine concentrates on how neoclassicism in the early modern period both reflected and shaped the English use and understanding of the past. At the same time he shows how religious controversies were also engendering a deepening recourse to history and a new sophistication about historical evidence. By the end of the 18th century, convictions in an ancient perennial wisdom and in the Bible as literal history had been thoroughly challenged and a truly modern historiography was largely in place. Levine concludes with a set of essays about some contemporary views of history, disputing with Quentin Skinner, Peter Novick and Thomas Kuhn, while extolling the virtues of R.G. Collingwood.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction. Part 1 History and the Classics: Ancients and Moderns reconsidered; Jonathan Swift and the idea of history; 'Et Tu Brute?' History and forgery in 18th-century England; Why neoclassicism? Politics and culture in 18th-century England. Part 2 History, Religion and Science: Sir Walter Ralegh and the ancient wisdom; Latitudinarians, neoplatonists, and the ancient wisdom; Deists and Anglicans: the ancient wisdom and the idea of progress; From tradition to history: Chillingworth to Gibbon; Nicolson as a virtuoso. Part 3 R.G. Collingwood and the Modern Idea of History: The autonomy of history: R.G. Collingwood and Agatha Christie; Collingwood, Vico, and the Autobiography; Idea of history; Natural history and the history of the scientific revolution; Method in the history of ideas: More, Machiavelli, and Quentin Skinner; Objectivity in history: Peter Novick and R.G. Collingwood. Index.
Joseph M. Levine is Distinguished Professor of History at Syracuse University, USA.